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3 up, 3 down: Angels 11, Royals 6

7/25/2012

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Angels continue to thrive at home.

They jumped out to a 7-0 lead off Luke Hochevar in the third inning and cruised for a while behind Jered Weaver before hitting late turbulence in an 11-6 win over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday afternoon.

The Angels have won six straight series at home and are 4-2 on this homestand following a 2-5 road trip to start the second half.

The Good:

Weaver Day. Weaver's day to pitch should be a holiday for Angels fans. It's the one day of the week they're practically guaranteed to see a win. He wasn't as efficient as a typical outing, in part because he hit Lorenzo Cain with pitches twice. Not sure why Weaver held a grudge against Cain (who homered Tuesday night), but it's hard to believe one of the finest control pitchers in baseball had two of them just slip out of his hand. Weaver has won seven straight starts.

Heart and soul. At this stage of his career, Torii Hunter has little to play for aside from a chance at the World Series, and he senses this team could offer him a golden opportunity. You can see that with how hard he is playing. He made a full-out dive for a line drive Tuesday night and came up with a bruised hip. As the designated hitter Wednesday, Hunter broke out of a bit of a slump with four hits, including his 11th home run and a two-run single that gave the Angels a 5-0 lead in the second inning.

New streaks. Mike Trout had his run streak snapped at 15 on Tuesday night, but he wasted little time starting a new one. He led off the game with a double and later scored on a wild pitch. He added his 16th home run later. Trout was on base four times and scored three times. Even after missing the first three weeks of the season, Trout leads the majors with 74 runs scored. The Angels' record is 124, set by Vlad Guerrero in his 2004 MVP season.

The Bad:

Tit for tat. Bob Davidson tossed Hochevar immediately after he hit Trout in the fourth inning, prompting a short argument from the Royals. If that was in retaliation for the Angels hitting Cain -- and Trout would have been a likely choice since Cain is K.C.'s best young player -- it seems more barbaric than old school. The Angels can take small pleasure in the fact that Hochevar will get a fine, at the very least, and big pleasure in the fact that Trout was not hurt.

Still struggling. Kendrys Morales won a big game for the Angels with a three-run single Monday night, but he generally has been unproductive for the past month. Manager Mike Scioscia indicated Morales (who went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts Wednesday) has been swinging at pitches outside the strike zone too often. You wonder whether Morales might not benefit from a change of scenery. He could be the centerpiece of a trade that might land the Angels a starting pitcher. He could go to a team that needs a bat, and he might produce better if he can play in the field more frequently. Being a DH isn't easy, and it's his first season trying it.

Downs decline. When Scott Downs picked up his eighth save on July 7, he had a 0.30 ERA and the Angels had virtually nothing to worry about when it came to holding leads. Things are different now. In his past five outings, he has an 18.00 ERA and a blown save. The Angels are believed to be looking most keenly for starting pitching as the trade deadline approaches, but there are reports they're also looking to upgrade the bullpen. Is Downs in danger of being demoted to a situational role earlier in games?